Dodd Narrows – The currents up to 10 knots will increase your boat wake. Keep a close eye for debris flowing out of Northumberland Channel.
Harmac – Marked by large smoke stacks which help determine wind direction. Watch for debris in bay.
Northumberland Channel – Named after Algernon Percy, the fourth duke of Northumberland. Small tidal currents generally flow east, flooding or ebbing.
Duke Point – Site of a deep-sea and ferry terminal. Jack Point to the north is marked by a green light and was named after Jack Doholt, a resident.
Nanaimo River Estuary – Booming ground marked by the piles. Petroglyph Provincial Park on the west side has petroglyphs, including a being that is half wolf, half whale.
Nanaimo – Name is derived from the Indian phrase Sne-ny-mo which means meeting place of the tribes or big strong tribe. Nanaimo’s development began when a First Nations discovered coal in 1849 and alerted the Hudsons Bay Company.
Nanaimo Boat Basin – More than 9,000 feet of docking when the fishing fleet is out. Petro Canada Marine Fuel, water, power, laundry, showers, washrooms, sewage pumpout, and stores close to the floats. A series of marinas and marine businesses located here with the Nanaimo Yacht Club. Reciprocal privileges, moorage on outside of east and south floats.
Newcastle Island Passage – Keep an eye out for buoys indicating fairway. If you are headed north into the passage keep the red buoy to starboard, the green buoy to port. Speed limit is five knots in the channel. Large public boat launch on the west shore.
10. Newcastle Island Marine Park – Miles of hiking trails. Accessible by boat or by foot-passenger-service. Large picnic area at the southern end with a dance pavilion. The island was named by officers of the Hudson’s Bay Co., after the ancient coal city of Newcastle in Northumberland. Good all weather anchorage to its south.
11. Mark Bay – Safe anchorage. One of the busiest in the Nanaimo harbour. Provincially provided mooring buoys.
12. Mckay Point – South is Kanaka Bay. It is not suitable as an anchorage for anything bigger than a dinghy.
13. Protection Island – Once known as Douglas Island; it is mainly private. Two small community parks off the beaches east of Good Point.
14. Departure Bay – At the north end of Newcastle Island there is a cardinal buoy marking Horswell Rock; the preferred channel is southeast. The ferry terminal is here. Their wash makes it an uncomfortable place to anchor or tie up. Kin Park Beach has washrooms, a swimming area and a great place to stroll the beach at the west end. Jesse Island has a private wharf at the west end. On the north side is an underwater reserve that is used by scuba divers.
15. Hudson Rocks – Marked by a light. To go through Horswell Channel, stay west of Hudson rocks and east of the light marking Clark Rock.
16. Hammon Bay – Home of Shack Islands with fisherman’s shacks and Pipers Lagoon Park. There is a boat ramp and protection from south and southeast winds. Neck Point to the north has a small gravel beach.
17. Five Finger Island – Barren and rocky. Southern most point is marked by a light, watch for sports fishers.
18. Snake Island – A light on the northern tip. There are interesting geological formations on the western tip. Snake Island is thus named because of the array of harmless snakes found here. A reef to the south is marked with a flashing red light.
19. Lock Bay – Home of Sandwell Provincial Park; a 12-hectare park with a nice sand and pebble beach, picnic area and washrooms. No fires or camping. Some petroglyphs worth finding. Anchorage is exposed to east winds and ferry wash. To the north is Orlebar Point.
20. Entrance Island – A picturesque setting, a favourite fishing spot with locals which is often used as a mark in yacht races. The lighthouse was established in the 1870’s with Robert Gray as the first lighthouse keeper.
21. Pilot Bay – Named for the pilot boats that used to wait here to guide ships into Nanaimo Harbour. Prohibited anchorage. Along the shores (east) there is good exploring for divers and snorkelers of all abilities. A rocky beach is accessible by road.
22. Taylor Bay – Home of Gabriola Sands Provincial Park; 3.5 acres that covers two beaches on the isthmus between Taylor Bay and Pilot Bay. Some anchorage but you will be exposed to north winds and ferry wash.
23. Galiano Galleries – Formed by erosion, these unique geological features can be accessed by anchoring in the small bay to the south. The galleries are a sea cave over 200 feet long and between four and five feet high.
24. Descanso Bay – A light marks the northwestern tip. First called Cala de del Descanso meaning small bay of rest, by the Spanish explorers Galiano and Valdes in 1792. The bay is exposed to the north and west, as well as to the wash of passing ferries. To the south, steep bluffs are covered with the evidence of birds who use the cliffs as their home.
25. Gabriola Island – Settled by First Nations thousands of years ago, other nationalities were drawn to the island in the 1850’s when coal miners from Nanaimo were looking for a place to settle.
26. Percy Anchorage – Exposed to west winds. Has a public wharf on the north side of the anchorage and a private wharf on the south side.